The Garden Announces Partnership with UCSB Library to House Rare Book Collection

Collaboration Made Possible Through $250,000 Donation to SBBG by Sara Miller McCune

May 13, 2014

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is pleased to announce an agreement with UC Santa Barbara Library to house the Garden's rare book collection, containing over 750 titles dating back to the seventeenth century. This partnership is made possible through a generous donation of $250,000 from local philanthropist and SAGE Publications chair and co-founder, Sara Miller McCune. The collection, to be recognized as the Sara Miller McCune Collection of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden's Rare Books, will be available in UCSB Library’s new Special Collections facility beginning in 2016.
"My goal in making this gift is to ensure the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s important collection of rare books are preserved for generations to come," said Ms. Miller McCune. "These fragile treasures require the expertise, specialized care, and controlled environment provided by UCSB Library."

Some of the oldest titles in the collection are: The Anatomy of Plants by Nehemia Grew (1682); The English Gardener (sure guide to young planters and gardeners) by Leonard Meager (1682); The Gardeners Dictionary by Philip Miller (1768); and Systema Hort-culturae by John Woolridge (1700). This valuable collection includes the titles: A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean by James Cook (1785); Results of a Biological Survey of Mount Shasta, California by Merriam C. Hart (1899); An Artist Records the California Missions by Henry Ford Chapman (1889); and The Missions and Missionaries of California by Zephyrin Engelhardt (1908, 1929).

Groupings of works by important environmental luminaries such as Charles Darwin (~12; dates 1875-1896), Asa Gray (~16 books; dates 1845-1891), and Charles Francis Saunders (~20; dates 1911-1939), are among the important tomes included in this collection. In fact, the Garden’s own Blaksley Library was founded after the donation of the Charles Francis Saunders collection. Also included are a number of signed early editions by such celebrated authors as John Muir – The Yosemite (1912) – and Philip H. Staats – with a copy of Californian Architecture in Santa Barbara (1929) autographed to Pearl Chase.

The genesis of this collaboration began during conversations the Garden was having with Ms. Miller McCune surrounding the Seed the Future campaign, which is raising funds for a new conservation building (due for completion late 2015) and new garden displays as well as improvements to existing gardens and facilities.

"We are so grateful for the support given to the Garden from Sara Miller McCune – both financial and inspirational," said Dr. Steve Windhager, Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. "Not only did Sara provide us with a generous donation, it was at her suggestion we pursued this collaboration with UCSB, which is a benefit to everyone involved, as the partnership provides unfettered access to this incredible collection of natural history and environmental titles."

"This is a pivotal and transformative time for the UCSB Library as we renovate and expand our facilities," said Denise Stephens, University Librarian. "We are so thankful to Sara Miller McCune for recognizing UCSB Library as the obvious home for this excellent archival resource and are pleased to make it available for the benefit of students, faculty, the local community, and scholars worldwide."

Housing the Garden's rare books at UCSB Library will ensure broad and reliable access to these rare books for researchers and the community. UCSB Library's new Special Collections facility, currently under construction, will provide this irreplaceable collection with the resources necessary to safeguard it for the future—including a temperature controlled environment, conservation lab, rare book vault, digitization equipment, and waterless fire suppression system. Utilizing UCSB Library's new state-of-the-art facility for rare and unique materials eliminates the need for SBBG to undergo its own construction.

For further information or to arrange an interview with Dr. Steve Windhager, SBBG Executive Director, or Denise Stephens, UCSB University Librarian, and to request high-resolution images, please contact Gina Benesh, Director of Development & Communications, at (805) 690-1697 or [email protected]. For more information about the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, please visit

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About the UC Santa Barbara Library:

The UC Santa Barbara Library enables exploration and collaboration for scholars in their intellectual engagement with the world of ideas and the creation of knowledge. Reinventing the Library, a campaign to raise funds for both capital and collection enhancement, is currently underway in conjunction with a state bond fund initiative. For more information, please contact Rebecca Metzger, Assistant University Librarian for Outreach, at 805-893-2674.

About Sara Miller McCune:
Sara Miller McCune is the founder and current Executive Chair of SAGE Publications, Inc., co-founder of Sage Publications India Pvt. Ltd., and president of the McCune Foundation. With her husband George D. McCune, Ms. Miller-McCune built SAGE into a leading international independent publisher of books and journals. In 2007, she founded the Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media and Public Policy that published the award-winning print and online magazine, Pacific Standard.

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About the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden: 
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a 78-acre educational and scientific institution fostering the conservation of California’s native plants and serves as a role model for sustainable practice in Santa Barbara, California. The Garden was founded in 1926 and is among the nation’s oldest botanic gardens focused exclusively on native plants.

To arrange an interview or to request high-resolution photos, please contact:

SBBG Communications Coordinator
(805) 682-4726 ext. 132